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The key SA rail corridor in question spans from the Durban ports to Johannesburg and Pretoria. And it is a passageway responsible for the transportation of products and raw materials worth millions or Rands monthly.

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Transnet first issued calls for private-sector partners on the key SA rail corridor in January 2023. However, as reported by Engineering News, the state-run ports and rail company has withdrawn the request for quotes from the private sector. This was not long after receiving National Treasury approval for a R47-billion support package.

KEY SA RAIL CORRIDOR

key SA rail corridor
Delays at the Durban container port are expected to run into 2024. Picture: File.

Connecting the biggest port with the country’s industrial and economic hub, the key SA rail corridor is vital for the nation. However, changes to the transport policy have affected the project, and seen a withdrawl of requests.

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This is due to new reforms in the National Rail Policy and Economic Regulation of Transport Bill. Transnet needs to review the process for bringing in private companies, which sees a clear separation of rail operations from infrastructure.

IMPROVE THE RAIL ECOSYSTEM

Transnet Durban
The Transnet debacle in Durban is costing billions of Rands per day. Image: Transnet Port Terminals.

“Transnet is fully committed to increasing private-sector partnerships on the key SA rail corridor, but believes it is necessary to complete the process of bringing the freight-rail ecosystem in line with national policy before taking any further steps to do so,” said the SOE.

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As we’ve reported already, PRASA’s long-distance Shosholoza Meyl passenger trains have endured big delays due to poor infrastructure. And the audience has commented widely about how the tracks and infrastructure should have been tested before sending paying commuters on them.

MOUNTING DEBT

Transnet
The SA government said it would inject $2.5 billion into beleaguered state logistics firm Transnet as it battles a huge backlog at ports. Image: Transnet

The country’s port, pipeline and freight rail system operator has amassed R130 billion in debt due to years of mismanagement and corruption, says Bloomberg. The key SA rail corridor for coal, iron ore, new vehicles and container shipments has deteriorated along with it. Many major companies believe private-railway operators are the only way to review the key SA rail corridor going forward.

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